NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for WestConnex Stuart Ayres this month released the concept design for M4-M5 Link that will provide the vital connection between two of Sydney's busiest motorways.
The M4-M5 Link consists of tunnels connecting to the New M4 at Haberfield and New M5 at St Peters via Rozelle. It includes an interchange at Rozelle with provision for a future connection to the Western Harbour Tunnel and BeachesLink, and an underground tunnel from the Rozelle Interchange to Victoria Road near Iron Cove Bridge, known as the 'Iron Cove Link'.
"Like the Harbour Bridge did for the North Shore, the M4-M5 Link will bridge a major gap in the road network, creating a non-stop underground western bypass of Sydney's CBD with links to the port and airport precincts," Ms Berejiklian said.
"This is the most critical section of WestConnex and the most beneficial in that it will slash travel times, as well as significantly constrain traffic growth on Parramatta Road."
According to the government, drivers can expect travel savings, including;
- The average peak journey between Parramatta and Sydney Airport being cut by up to 40 minutes;
- Around 20 minutes cut from a peak hour trip between Burwood and Sydney Airport;
- Around half an hour cut from the morning peak hour trip from Port Botany to Silverwater; and
- Up to 10,000 fewer trucks on Parramatta Road east of Concord.
Mr Ayres said the government has listened to the community, and is now seeking further feedback and ideas to refine the project's design ahead of the Environmental Impact Statement which will be released mid-year.
"The M4-M5 link will form a key part of Sydney's road network by connecting to projects like the future Western Harbour Tunnel and F6 extension while also improving the liveability of local communities," he said.
Mr Ayres also confirmed the government would proceed with the sale of at least a 51 per cent stake in the Sydney Motorway Corporation, the company delivering WestConnex, to help fund the final stage.
"The Government will call for expressions of interest for the WestConnex sale later this year, and is targeting a transaction closing date of mid-2018," the Minister said.
"Our capital recycling strategy for funding WestConnex ensures the government has the funding available to finish the job and will deliver the M4-M5 Link as promised."
The government has also confirmed tolling will be implemented on the New M4 after a one month toll free period. A distance-based toll of between $1.77 and $4.56 ($2017) will be implemented on the new section of the M4 between Parramatta and Homebush.
"The opening of this first section of WestConnex is a great achievement but there is more to do with 21 road headers currently working 24/7 to extend the M4 underground from Homebush to Haberfield," Ms Berejiklian said.
Building work for the underground M4-M5 Link between Haberfield and St Peters is expected to start in 2018 and finish in 2023.
The approximate $16.8 billion, 33-kilometre WestConnex tollway is being delivered across stages, with the M4-M5 link forming final stage. The overall project will extend from Parramatta to Sydney's CBD, Sydney Airport and the Port Botany precinct and the M5 in south-west Sydney, and carry an estimated 400,000 vehicles per day.